Updated: Apr 11
To kick off our 'Meet the team' series, about the people who are the life and soul of Treguddick we caught up with Esther Stansbury for a quick chat. Esther has worked for English Spirit for a number of years and is one of our fabulous multitaskers. (Basically there's not much she won't have a go at!) If you pop into the distillery for a coffee or lunch, it's hard to miss her smiling face and bubbly personality. You might also have met her at one of the many fairs and events we attend with our products, in her role as a Spirit Ambassador.
Hi Esther, Thanks for finding some time to do this, as I know how busy you are!
Can you start by telling us a bit about your role here at Treguddick and English Spirit.
I'm a team member, which means I do a bit of everything really. Which I love as it keeps the job varied, and no two days are the same. Sometimes I'm front of house in the restaurant and behind the bar, or in the kitchen helping with some food prep. Other times I might be on reception, meeting and greeting guests and customers. I'm also in training at the moment to host distillery and tasting tours, which is absolutely fascinating, and I'm really excited to do my first one. Although I'm really nervous!
It sounds like you have a lot going on! But you joined English Spirit originally with a different role didn't you?
Yes, I started as a Spirit Ambassador, going to fairs, markets ands events across Devon and Cornwall. We have stands selling all of the amazing spirits and liqueurs that we make, and I really enjoyed that element of the job. Meeting all of our customers and promoting the best drinks money can buy is a really fulfilling job, and I hope to be able to more of that again in the future. From that role it really just led into working at the distillery as I knew they were looking for staff, and it seemed the obvious transition to make. I've learned so much along the way.
What's your favourite element of the job?
To be honest I love it all. At the moment I haven't got time to do the fairs and events at weekends, and I do miss that. Meeting people in person who perhaps haven't heard of us, and encouraging them to try our products is great. Because 99% of the time, once they've tried something they go on to buy it, and that is really satisfying. I get such a buzz from that. Our products sell themselves once you've tasted them, and I love the fact that I'm selling a really fabulous product. I especially love the summer events, the big county shows, they're a lot of fun, so I'd love to more of that again.
I'm very much a people person, and just love interacting with customers more than anything.
So you've been at Treguddick right from the very beginning then, whilst it was still a big old empty barn?
Yes, I saw it when it was a field with horses in and the barn was empty and full of mud. I used to come and pick up stock to take to fairs, and saw the transformation to the beautiful building it is today.
What did it feel like the day the doors opened for the first time in October last year?
I was amazed it had come together so quickly in the end! We had staff training a couple of weeks before we opened and there was still so much going on I really didn't think it would be finished in time. So it was a such a buzz to drive in and see the 'Open' sign for the first time. I felt really proud actually as I'd seen the enormous amount of effort and hard work that had gone on, during the most trying of times. I thought, 'Wow I'm going to be working there!' I think I was even more excited as I hadn't really worked properly for the last 8 years other than the occasional fair and event at the weekend. I've been a stay at home Mum so it felt really nice to be involved in something new.
What was your occupation before you had children? Was it in the hospitality industry?
No not at all! I was a Training and Operations Manager for EE actually. I did that for 14 years and it was very different from what I'm doing now. When I had kids I wanted to start working again after
a few years, but doing something totally different, and part time to fit around family life. So this works perfectly for me.
I'm really looking forward to being a tour guide now as I've been studying really hard, there's so much to learn! But it's been so interesting learning everything about that we make, from scratch. It all helps with the other areas of what I do too, having all the knowledge about the products. Whether I'm serving customers in the bar or in the shop, I can talk in depth about the drinks I'm selling.
You live quite locally in a very beautiful little village not far from the border with Devon. When you're not working, how do you like to spend your free time?
Well I was actually born in Sidmouth, so I'm really a Devon girl. My husband who I met at University works at Devonport dockyard, so we bought a rambling old house within commuting distance of Plymouth that we've been doing up forever. So that's taken up a lot of our free time. But when we do have weekends off we're real outside people. So anywhere that's got open green space like on the moors, or at a beach would be our go to. We love to take the boys and find a secret spot on Dartmoor and do some wild camping, usually by a river. That's our idea of a great way to spend family time together. I also love walking, and during lockdown I walked miles. It really made me appreciate what we have on our doorstep, so I just put in a pair of headphones and escape for peace and quiet. I'm really lucky that I live right on the edge of The Tamar Trails so I can go out and do 4 or 5 miles in the most beautiful countryside. I'm also a foodie and love going out for good food and drink. My favourite place near where I live is The Annexe in Tavistock. Great food, great atmosphere and nothing is too much trouble. A bit like Treguddick really!
One final question, that I ask everybody. If you were any English Spirit which one would you be? You always seem to be smiling so I see you as something light and maybe fruit based.
Hmm...such a hard question! Well I like to think I'm quite versatile, so something that you can do lots with really. Perhaps our Limongino? It has so many uses, works perfectly on it's own but is fabulous to top up a glass of Prosecco with, or as a long summer drink with cloudy lemonade and ice. So that's what I'd be.
A bottle of Limongino. Sunny, versatile and puts a smile on your face.
I'm happy with that description.